PAINESVILLE, Ohio—Lake Erie College Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri announced Monday (June 29) that Lake Erie Athletics will be joining the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) beginning with the 2017-18 academic year.
In an announcement sent to the Lake Erie College community, Guarnieri said, “While the GLIAC offered a tremendous opportunity for Lake Erie to acclimate itself to Division II and to raise its level of excellence, it also left us wanting in several key areas that have impacted our total student-athlete experience.”
Of the Storm’s 19 varsity sports, 18 will continue to compete in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) through the end of the 2016-17 academic year. Men’s lacrosse will remain in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).
“We believe the migration to the G-MAC will not only provide greater access to conference and national postseason opportunities, but more importantly, will reduce missed class time and place us in concert with other institutions who share a similar vision and philosophy for higher education.
The core philosophy of the Storm program is that our young adults are students first and athletes second; this transition will allow for that ideal to be achieved with even greater ease and certainty,” continued Guarnieri.
Four other GLIAC members have also announced their intentions today to join the G-MAC on a similar timetable. The University of Findlay, Hillsdale College, Ohio Dominican University, and Walsh University will also begin conference play in 2017-18, while a fifth GLIAC member, Malone University,has already announced its intention to begin G-MAC play in the 2016-17 academic year.
The six GLIAC institutions will join seven existing G-MAC members: Alderson Broaddus University, Cedarville University, Davis & Elkins College, Kentucky Wesleyan University, Ohio Valley University, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Ursuline College.
G-MAC Commissioner Tom Daeger expressed his excitement for the conference expansion, stating, “It is evident that the commonalities among these institutions, the league’s most recent addition Malone, and current league members, will be the cornerstone of a strong, collaborative Midwest regional affiliation,” he added. “These institutions have illustrated a desire to support each other not only in athletic endeavors, but with opportunities in all aspects of institutional development.”
Lake Erie enters the 2015-16 academic year looking to build upon its recent successes at the regional and national levels. This past year, and for the third consecutive time, the Storm finished in the top 100 (94th) of the national Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings which rank the 314 NCAA Division II athletic programs.
In 2014-15, the program posted its first-ever number one nationally ranked team, garnered a record 14 All-American honors including one national champion, sent eight teams to the postseason, and presented nearly 150 All-Academic honors.